Daily news summary News Saturday, JUNE 19th, 1999

19-06-1999

Radio Prague E-News Written/read by: Libor Kubik Date: 18 June 1999

Hello and welcome to the programme. I’m Libor Kubik, first a look at the news headlines.

CZECH-AIRFORCE-CRASH-ANALYSE

Czech Defence Minister Vladimir Vetchy says Thursday’s mid-air collision of two air force jets warrants a thorough analysis of the air pilots’ training programmes. In a statement released in Brussels on Friday, the Czech official refused to comment on the causes of the disaster pending further investigation.

Two Czech Air Force MiG-21 jet fighters collided in mid-air and crashed in the eastern Czech Republic. The crews bailed out but only one of the three pilots survived with light injuries.

Minister Vetchy described the accident as a tragedy for the pilots’ families and said the killed airmen had been very professional. A commission of inquiry has been appointed to conduct the investigation.

Earlier, eyewitnesses said the parachutes of the two men killed failed to open following a loud bang as the two planes collided head on. The Czech Air Force chief has said the crews of both planes swapped their roles during a training mission.

CZECH-KOSOVO-PREMIER

Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has criticised NATO’s reluctance to disarm the Kosovo Liberation Army.

He said on Friday a mere demilitarisation of the KLA was not enough. In NATO’s vocabulary, the term demilitarisation implies a ban on military training, and a ban on heavy weapons and public showing of arms. Zeman said the original plan from Rambouillet had called for the KLA to be disarmed.

The premier told correspondents that his government is against replacing one form of terrorism in Kosovo by another, specifically, by terror unleashed by ethnic Albanians against Kosovo Serbs.

He said his government had warned the allies not to allow one dictator – Slobodan Milosevic – to be replaced by another strongman, such as the Serbian nationalist leader Vuk Draskovic.

CZECH-CONSTRUCTION-YUGOSLAVIA

Czech building companies have indicated willingness to share in the reconstruction of war-torn Yugoslavia if they gain access to state or international financial guarantees.

A Czech News Agency poll released on Friday shows that Yugoslavia could be an interesting market for future investors and building contractors.

But many Czech firms have expressed reservations about the ability of this country’s banks to take the risk of long-term financing of Yugoslavia’s post-war reconstruction effort.

CZECH-TELECOM-SHAKEUP

SPT Telecom’s general meeting on Friday voted overwhelmingly to sack the board of directors of this telecommunication giant. The losers’ lounge is led by SPT Telecom’s General Director Svatoslav Novak and his two most trusted lieutenants.

SPT Telecom is 51-percent owned by the National Property Fund. The company’s performance has been widely criticised and the firm has been accused of monopolistic behaviour.

CZECH-BELGIUM-FOOD

Czech hygiene officers have instructed restaurant proprietors and salespeople country-wide to check how much of the food on offers originated in Belgium.

Belgium’s dioxin-in-food scandal is causing widespread concern in the Czech Republic. The health officers issued a warning on Friday concerning ready-made meals containing chicken, beef and pork. That includes pates, sausages and liver – a popular organ meat in the Czech Republic.

The warning covers also Belgian foods containing at least two percent of eggs, such as various cheeses and spreads.

CZECH-EAST-NUCLEAR-AGENCY

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday that nuclear plants in eastern Europe were clearly moving toward Western safety standards a decade after the collapse of communism.

At the close of a five-day conference with constructors, operators and controllers of nuclear plants in eastern Europe, the agency said there was a clear trend toward better safety standards.

But the planned modernisation of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the south of the Czech Republic has been postponed because state operators have argued they have spent huge amounts in anti-pollution measures of coal-fired plants, and the controversial Temelin nuclear plant which is still under construction.

CZECH-WEATHER

Now for a look at the weather.

On Saturday, the Czech Republic will find itself under the influence of a slight high-pressure area, which will have bearing on the frontal interface between Moravia and Silesia. We expect a wet and cloudy day with early morning temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius, and afternoon highs between 18 and 22 degrees.

On Sunday and Monday, a low-pressure area will bring even more precipitation and even some scattered thunderstorms. Night-time lows between 10 and 15 Celsius, Sunday’s afternoon highs from 20 to 24 degrees, and Monday will be a little cooler, with daytime highs between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.

I’m Libor Kubik and that’s the end of the news.

19-06-1999